Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Lepidium


The present work was designed to evaluate the effect of some commonly used herbs viz. garden cress (Lepidium sativum), black seed (Nigella sativa) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graceum) on the disposition of phenytoin after oral administration in a dog model. Phenytoin was given orally at a dose of 50 mg, and blood samples were obtained for the determination of drug’s pharmacokinetic parameters. After a suitable washout period, animals were commenced on a specific herb treatment for one week. Garden cress treatment caused a modest increase in maximum observed concentration (C(max) ) and terminal half-life (T(1/2λ) ) of phenytoin with a reduction in clearance by 33%. The effect of black seed therapy was more drastic on drug elimination and to a lesser extent on its volume of distribution at steady state (V(ss) ) with a consequent reduction in systemic exposure measured by area under the curve (AUC(0-∞) ) by about 87%. The effect of fenugreek therapy resembled, albeit to a lesser extent, that of black seed with a significant reduction in AUC(0-∞) by ~72%. In addition, there was a 73% increase in V(ss) . Our findings suggest that the phenytoin disposition can be significantly altered by the concurrent consumption of tested herbal products. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Distribution, Pharmacokinetics, Herb, Herbs, Nigella sativa, Garden cress, Lepidium


The plant maca, grown at 4000 m altitude in the Peruvian Central Andes, contains hypocotyls that have been used as food and in traditional medicine for centuries. The aim of this research was to provide results on some health effects of oral administration of spray-dried extracts of black or red maca (Lepidium meyenii) in adult human subjects living at low (LA) and high altitude (HA). A total of 175 participants were given 3 g of either placebo, black, or red maca extract daily for 12 weeks. Primary outcomes were changes in sexual desire, mood, energy, health-related quality of life score (HRQL), and chronic mountain sickness (CMS) score, or in glycaemia, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. Secondary outcomes were acceptability and safety, assessed using the Likert test and side effect self-recording, respectively, and the effect of altitude. At low altitude, 32, 30, and 32 participants started the study receiving placebo, red maca, or black maca, respectively. At high altitudes, 33, 35, and 31 participants started the study receiving placebo, red maca, and black maca, respectively. Consumption of spray-dried extracts of red and black maca resulted in improvement in mood, energy, and health status, and reduced CMS score. Fatty acids and macamides were higher in spray-dried extracts of black maca than in red maca. GABA predominated in spray-dried extracts of red maca. Effects on mood, energy, and CMS score were better with red maca. Black maca and, in smaller proportions, red maca reduced hemoglobin levels only in highlanders with abnormally high hemoglobin levels; neither variety of maca reduced hemoglobin levels in lowlanders. Black maca reduced blood glucose levels. Both varieties produced similar responses in mood, and HRQL score. Maca extracts consumed at LA or HA had good acceptability and did not show serious adverse effects. In conclusion, maca extract consumption relative to the placebo improved quality of life parameters. Differences in the level of improvement between red and black maca are probably due to differences in the composition of these two plant varieties. Both maca extracts were well tolerated and safe.

Concepts: Better, Effectiveness, Blood sugar, Andes, Altitude sickness, High altitude wind power, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


Lepidium meyenii (Maca) is traditionally employed in the Andean region for its supposed fertility benefits.

Concepts: Menopause, Luteinizing hormone, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


Lepidium meyenii (Maca), originated from Peru, has been cultivated widely in China as a popular health care food. However, the chemical and effective studies of Maca were less in-depth, which restricted its application seriously. To ensure the quality of Maca, a feasible and accurate strategy was established. One hundred and sixty compounds including 30 reference standards were identified in 6 fractions of methanol extract of Maca by UHPLC-ESI-Orbitrap MS. Among them, 15 representative active compounds were simultaneously determined in 17 samples by UHPLC-ESI-QqQ MS. The results suggested that Maca from Yunnan province was the potential substitute for the one from Peru. Meanwhile, the neuroprotective effects of Maca were investigated. Three fractions and two pure compounds showed strong activities in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced zebrafish model. Among them, 80% methanol elution fraction (Fr5) showed significant neuroprotective activity, followed by 100% part (Fr6). The inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) was a possible mechanism of its neuroprotective effect.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Yunnan, Kunming, Zebrafish, Fraction, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


Maca - Lepidium meyenii Walp has been cultivated and used by Andean people for over 1,300 to 2000 years in Peru as food and medicine. Starting in the late 1990’s it has developed into an important herbal medicine in China and is now cultivated there widely, too.

Concepts: Health, Herb, Andes, Lima, Peru, Quechua, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


A novel technique of ultrasound-assisted freeze-thaw pretreatment (UFP) was developed to improve the drying efficiency of maca and bioactive amide synthesis in maca. The optimal UFP conditions are ultrasonic processing 90 min at 30 °C with 6 freeze-thaw cycles. Samples with freeze-thaw pretreatment (FP), ultrasound pretreatment (UP), and UFP were prepared for further comparative study. A no pretreatment (NP) sample was included as a control. The results showed that UFP improved the drying efficiency of maca slices, showing the highest effective moisture diffusivity (1.75 × 10-9m2/s). This result was further supported by low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (LF-NMR) analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The rehydration capacity and protein content of maca slices were improved by UFP. More importantly, contents of bioactive macamides and their biosynthetic precursors were increased in 2.5- and 10-fold, respectively. In conclusion, UFP is an efficient technique to improve drying efficiency, physicochemical properties, and bioactive macamides of maca, which can be applied in the industrial manufacture of maca products.

Concepts: Better, Electron, Improve, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Ultrasound, Scanning electron microscope, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


Environmental contamination with pharmaceuticals has received growing attention in recent years. Several studies describe the presence of traces of drugs in water bodies and soils and their impacts on non-target organisms including plants. Due to these facts investigations of the uptake and metabolism of pharmaceuticals in organisms is an emerging research area. The present study demonstrates the analysis of three selected antidepressants (sertraline, clomipramine and trazodone) as well as metabolites and transformation products in a cress model (Lepidium sativum). Cress was treated with tap water containing 10 mg L-1 of the parent drugs. Employing an analytical approach based on HPLC coupled with quadrupole-time-of-flight or Orbitrap mass spectrometry in MS and MS² mode, in total 14 substances were identified in the cress extracts. All three parent drugs were taken up by the cress and translocated from the roots to the leaves in specific patterns. In addition to this, eleven metabolite species were identified. They were generated by hydroxylation, demethylation, conjugation with amino acids or combinations of these mechanisms. Finally, the inclusion of control cultures in the experimental setup allowed for a differentiation of “true” metabolites generated by the cress and transformation products generated by plant-independent mechanisms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Amino acid, Metabolism, Mass spectrometry, Antidepressant, Copyright, Monoamine oxidase inhibitor, Garden cress, Lepidium


Stallion semen is damaged by oxidative stress during cooling and transport. Semen processing and extenders have been tested to improve the fertilizing capacity of semen and to preserve semen during transport. Dietary supplementation with natural antioxidants has been proposed to prevent oxidative damages. In this study, for the first time, the effect of dietary supplementation with Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on the characteristics of fresh and chilled stallion semen was evaluated. Maca is a traditional Andean crop used as a nutraceutical for the fertility-enhancing properties that are linked with antioxidant activity. The diet of five stallions was supplemented with 20 g of Maca powder daily for a total of 60 days. A control group of five stallions received the same diet without Maca. Semen was collected once before the administration of Maca (D0), twice during the administration at 30 and 60 days (D30 and D60), and finally twice at 30 and 60 days after the end of the administration (D90 and D120). Ejaculates were processed for cooled shipping at 5 °C and evaluated in the laboratory for total and progressive motility, acrosome integrity, and lipid peroxidation after collection and after 24, 48, and 72 h of storage. Dietary supplementation with Maca improved sperm concentration (from 213 ± 80.4 to 447 ± 73.1 × 106 spz/mL) and total sperm count (from 10,880 ± 4377 to 24,783 ± 4419 × 106 spz). The beneficial effects of Maca supplementation on motility and acrosome integrity in the raw semen were detected from the end of treatment with Maca (D60) until the end of the study (D120). Furthermore, during cooling storage, total motility, progressive motility, and acrosome integrity declined more slowly in the Maca-treated group than in the control group. Lipid peroxidation did not change during cooling storage in either group and did not show a significant difference between the two groups. In this study, the dietary supplementation with Maca increased sperm production and stabilized semen quality during chilled storage.

Concepts: Nutrition, Antioxidant, Sperm, Oxidative phosphorylation, Semen analysis, Semen, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


Maca polysaccharides, some of the major bioactive substances in Lepidium meyenii (Walp.) (Maca), have various biological properties, including anti-oxidant, anti-fatigue, anti-tumor, and immunomodulatory effects, as well as hepatoprotective activity and regulation function. Although many therapeutics depend on multiple structures of maca polysaccharides in addition to providing sufficient foundations for maca polysaccharide products in industrial applications, the relationships between the pharmacological effects and structures have not been established. Therefore, this article summarizes the extraction and purification methods, compositions, pharmacological effects, prospects and industrial applications of maca polysaccharides.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Bacteria, Polysaccharide, Major, Root vegetable, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii


Although the incidence of lead poisoning has decreased in the USA over the last 30 years, human exposures to lead-containing products are still reported. We present a case of unintentional lead exposure from a store-bought ceramic mug and a nutritional supplement. A 32-year-old female was found to have a whole blood lead concentration of 44 μg/dL. Evaluation of her home, occupation, and hobbies initially did not identify a source of lead exposure. Further investigation revealed that the likely etiology of the exposure was lead leaching from a ceramic mug used by the patient to drink hot lemon water while she was pregnant. She stopped drinking from the mug and her blood lead levels decreased, but increased a year later after she began to ingest a maca root powder supplement. Upon discontinuation of maca root powder ingestion, her blood lead levels decreased further. Over time, the acidity and heat of the hot lemon water used in the ceramic mug enhanced the breakdown of its leaded glaze. Maca powder, which is available as a nutritional supplement and is used to treat fatigue and enhance fertility, may contain lead and other minerals. Consumers, particularly women of childbearing age, and their physicians should be aware that imported products available from commercial retailers and internet vendors may contain significant amounts of lead.

Concepts: Lead poisoning, Root vegetable, Lepidium, Lepidium meyenii